Park City High student wins major scholarship
Park City High School student Robert Florance was recently named the recipient of the National Merit Scholarship award, the only recipient at PCHS. Of the 1.4 million entrants, the field is narrowed until 8,200 winners are chosen.
"I was pleasantly surprised," Florance said of his being informed he had won.
Preliminary SAT scores are weighed heavily in the selection process of the not-for-profit National Merit Scholarship organization.
"Robert is one of the highest-ranked test takers in the nation," said Dana Ardovino, the community scholarship advisor for PCHS.
Florance’s advice on taking tests? "A sharp pencil and a dry Scantron sheet." He added that scoring sheets can give erroneous results if touched by sweaty hands.
But it wasn’t just test-taking that led to Florance receiving the scholarship. Academic performance, recommendations from administrators, student essays and leadership qualities are major factors in being selected..
Florance said that school has never been easy for him, but that his parents "helped me a lot. School performance is important to my parents and they kept me on track."
Florance had much good to say about PCHS. "I’ve been here since my freshman year. The teachers have prepared me really well. I’ve been intellectually challenged here," he said. "This is light years ahead of California schools," he said as a former California resident.
Florance said he is not sure which college he will attend, but he was sponsored by Westminster College in Salt Lake City, and received an offer for scholarship money from the college.
"I am really grateful to Westminster College, who will pay half my tuition if I go there," said Florance. He said he is strongly considering Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college in Middlebury Vermont. "It’s a beautiful location and the student body is intellectual and enthusiastic," Florance said of the school. "I want to see what the East coast is like."
In his free time, Florance likes to play computer games online. He took a computer technician class at PCHS which gave him the knowledge to build his family’s computers by hand, which he loves to do. "That’s where all my money goes," he lamented.
In the summers, Florance has been working as a ranch hand on a family cattle ranch in Montana. He said the word ‘cowboy’ does not describe what ranchers do. "It’s a relaxed lifestyle. You need to know mechanics, fixing tractors, construction and farming.
"There’s no Internet up there. No TV. I like it here, (Park City) being connected.
Florance said that he has to decide on a school in May.
He reflected on receiving the scholarship. "I really appreciate Dana (Ardovino). She’s really on the ball, getting a lot of money for a lot of kids. I appreciate that she’s here for us."
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